Patents

Why Do I Need All These Details to Get a Patent?

Lately we have been working some inventors who are newer to the patent process, and they are often concerned about providing details about the embodiments of their inventions. Their concern is that when we ask for this information, it means we are narrowing the scope of their invention.   However, that is not the case. We…

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It Takes a (Coordinated) Team Effort

Patentable inventions do not arise in a vacuum.  They usually arise in the context of a sales team trying to land an account, often with time constraints and the added pressure of trying to outflank a competitor.  The customer is telling the sales people what it wants, the technical team is trying to figure out…

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The Hazards of Joint Development

It is very common for companies to work with their customers or suppliers in developing products. For example, if you are a supplier, you may work with a customer to provide a component that fits and meets the needs of that customer’s products.  The auto industry is full of these types of interactions.  A supplier…

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Some Key Reasons to Conduct a Patentability Search

When we first meet with a client who is interested in getting a patent, we ask whether they have conducted a patentability search and whether they wish to do so before incurring the expense of preparing a patent application. Many are reluctant to do so because they think they “know” the market for their invention….

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Dangers of Discussing New Inventions at Industry Meetings or Conferences

Companies often want to discuss some of their latest innovations at industry conferences to establish their technical prominence and build their brand. Inventors who are academics often want to describe their work to their peers to develop their reputations in their chosen fields. While such activities are commonplace, they need to be coordinated with patent…

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Monetizing Your Patents – The Dangers of Declaratory Judgment Jurisdiction

Now you have your shiny, new issued patent, and you want to go forth and profit from it.  To do that, you need to let all of those “infringers” (okay, “potential licensees”) know that you have a patent and that they should pay up. Not so fast.  Are you prepared to be sued by the…

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Employees Who Assign Patent Rights to Employers May Have Standing to Challenge Omission as Inventors

Employers do not automatically obtain legal ownership of the patent rights to their employees’ inventions simply because of the employer-employee relationship.  Thus, it is a standard practice to require employees to assign their patent rights to their employers in an employment agreement.  This practice raises the following question: Can an employee (or ex-employee) file an…

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Federal Circuit Clarifies Entire Market Value Rule

Determining patent infringement damages is complicated and often borders on the metaphysical.  Under U.S. law, a patent holder is entitled to damages adequate to compensate for the infringement, but in no event less than a “reasonable royalty.”  In some cases, patent holders can establish damages through lost profits.  However, when that is not possible or…

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Heading Off Obviousness Rejections

Sometimes the best defense is a good offense. Clients often assume that they are entitled to a patent because no single piece of prior art shows all of their invention.  In that case the invention may be novel. However, it does not mean that it is non-obvious.  To qualify for a U.S. patent, an invention…

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Patenting Improved Articles That Use Proprietary 3rd Party Materials

Under U.S. law, improved articles of manufacture may be patentable if they are novel and non-obvious. Sometimes, an inventor comes up with a new article that is faster, stronger, more flexible, more rigid, lighter, etc. by using new materials to make the article. If the article has never been made with those materials, and if…

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